Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Honmura An: Modern Classic Soba

Honmura An might not have a rich old legacy like Kanda Matsuya but it could one day reach the same position in future. This Michelin-starred soba shop is actually the Tokyo venture of Koichi Kobari, whose same name restaurant in New York's Soho district is one of the most well-acclaimed and celebrity-patronized one. 
No one would disagree that the menu's backbone is its solid, handmade soba noodles.
The Traditional zaru soba with sesame dipping sauce did offer some magical respite from the harsh winter outside despite the fact that the noodles were cold. Since winter is the best season to savour the plump oysters, the place created a special Curry oyster soba. Interestingly, the oysters are coated in curry-flavoured dough batter and deep fried, retaining the taste and fragrant of spices even though one cannot identify any visible speck of curry in the oysters. Surprisingly, this soba shop served decent Oyakadon too, but still it might be better to head to Tamahide or Honke Abeya for the real thing.

Apart from the soba, it also boasts an array of classic izakaya fare. They are not that exciting or creative, but made with an understated elegance and finesse. The yuba tofu soup with winter vegetables (1000 yen) is deliberately made bland as one was supposed to ladle the broth into individual porcelain bowls filled with spring onions and add the amount of shoyu as desired. However, I thought price leaned on the steep side for homely vegetables dishes such as Sesame Sauce marinated Watercress (900 yen). Perhaps that's because the watercress was harvested from Mt. Fuji.  Likewise, the assorted tempura (2100 yen) were crunchy but they could turn the plate more enticing by adding in some juicy prawns.

Aside from food, service is friendly and unpretentious. Some might think that service is generally assured in most restaurants in Japan but this is not guaranteed especially towards foreigners. But at Honmura An, guests feel no pressure and can dine at ease just like at home. English menu and a selection of craft sake or shochu are available.

Curry Oyster Ala Carte

Honmura An
7 Chome-14-18 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo 106-0032
English menu available 
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